Robert Peary built an unusual home on Eagle Island in Casco Bay off the coast of Maine in 1904. The house was built to resemble a ship. The two photos below show the house from the front (bow) and the rear (stern):
Inside the house is a unique three-sided fireplace, each side constructed with a different kind of stones found on the island:
Robert Peary (1856-1920) was an explorer who won renown for his Arctic expeditions, especially his 1909 expedition which was widely credited as the first to reach the North Pole. While he was an officer in the U.S. Navy for 30 years (1881-1911), retiring with the rank of rear admiral, his Arctic expeditions were privately financed and undertaken while on leave from the Navy.
Peary fell in love with Eagle Island while exploring the coast of Maine as a student at nearby Bowdoin College, from which he graduated in 1877 with a degree in civil engineering. He was also an accomplished surveyor and taxidermist. The house on Eagle Island contains many examples of his taxidermy work, some of which are visible on the fireplace mantel above.
In addition to the main house on Eagle Island, Peary also built the caretaker's cottage shown in the photo below:
Eagle Island remained in the Peary family until 1967 when they donated it to the State of Maine for a state park. See Eagle Island State Historic Site and Friends of Peary's Eagle Island.
The island is accessible only by boat. While commercial transportation is available, we visited today via the private boat of our friends Pam and David:
The building behind Pam and David is the Welcome Center, built in 2014. It is the first building one encounters after walking off the dock. Here visitors can watch the 10-minute film "Admiral Robert E. Peary – A Man and His Island" and pick up an audio wand for a free self-guided tour of the Peary home, now called the Peary Museum and containing many interesting artifacts and displays. There are also gardens and walking trails on the 17-acre island.
Robert Peary's study and library is the round stone structure behind Nancy and me in the photo at the top of this post. Visible in three of the photos above is the wind vane on top of the Peary house. It is in the shape of the Roosevelt, Peary's arctic ship, named for his friend President Theodore Roosevelt.
The granite bench on which Pam and David are sitting says:
In Memory of David S. Chaney
Park Manager Eagle Island 1986-1998
That was Pam's uncle.